No, Green Arrow does not kill. But as many fans of the DC Comics character might already know, he might take a life if left with no other choice.
And Oliver Queen has indeed taken a life on more than one occasion in the comics. And most of the time, those situations land squarely within the kill or be killed (or kill or allow a victim to be killed) category type of situations.
In this post, we will walk you through Green Arrow’s view on using lethal force, as well as his experiences on the topic, as told, of course, in the pages of DC comics.
Along the way, we will also touch on his abilities (especially his accuracy in the field of archery), relationships with other DC characters, and comics history.
Who Has Green Arrow Killed?
We all know about Batman’s rigid “no killing” rule in DC Comics. It’s one of the Caped Crusader’s most defining (and legendary) character traits.
Although some may argue that he sometimes bends this rule in other media (in the movie Batman Begins, he allows Ra’s al Ghul to die when he could have saved him; in Batman Vs Superman, he sends about 10 unfortunate folks to the morgue).
Green Arrow actually has a similar “no killing” moral code in the comics, though many people might not know it.
To be fair, the small screen version has no qualms about killing bad guys, so perhaps people just assume the comics version is similarly trigger-happy when it comes to employing lethal force.
Still, it has to be said that Green Arrow has indeed killed people in the comic books. But it does not mean that he is a killer.
Sometimes it just comes with the job, especially if your job involves stopping ruthless criminals.
Actually, if we want to be technical, it was Parallax, the version of Green Lantern who went full-on crazy during the Emerald Twilight saga back in the mid-1990s.
To be fair, his hometown, Coast City, just got totally destroyed (thanks to the supervillain Mongul).
So he goes mad and embarks on a murderous spree for the ages. He lays waste to the Green Lantern Corps and slays his pal Kilowog, as well as several members of the Guardians of the Universe.
Acquiring additional powers, he attempts to change the fabric of time and space itself (the purpose of which is to bring back the lost Coast City), but the effort weakens him.
With Parallax vulnerable at last, Green Arrow takes him out – the archer shoots an arrow straight to his longtime friend’s chest, ending Parallax’s evil reign for good.
Has Green Arrow killed a supervillain (that is, apart from Parallax who originally was a superhero)? Yes, Green Arrow has.
During the late 2000s, DC Comics published the Justice League: Cry For Justice miniseries. It was a limited series run (a total of seven issues) that saw a spin-off version of Justice League co-captained by Green Arrow and Green Lantern, and made up of the superheroes Supergirl, the Atom, Congorilla, Freddy Freeman, and Starman.
The team goes against Prometheus, a ruthless terrorist who causes an explosion in Star City, the home of Green Arrow, killing countless innocent people (sadly, including Oliver Queen’s adoptive granddaughter).
In retaliation, Green Arrow proceeds (in later issues) to infiltrate Prometheus’ lair (a state-of-the-art, high-security castle) and shoot an arrow into the baddie’s skull.
It is true that we sometimes hold superheroes to impossible standards. They are superheroes, after all – fully capable of surpassing our expectations.
But comic book stories sometimes make a point that some superheroes (like Green Arrow) are only human, and often fall victim to their own emotions and impulses (like hunting and bringing down the worthless bastard who killed his grandkid).
Can Green Arrow Miss?
Yes, Green Arrow can miss, but only if he chooses to. Although you can equally argue that Green Arrow can miss if it suits the story (so go ahead, you can blame the DC writers for this).
But yeah, never ever bet on Oliver Queen missing an arrow.
But it is worth discussing how an opponent (or any person for that matter) might be able to influence Green Arrow’s shot.
The Emerald Archer might be able to out-Robin Hood any Robin Hood in the DC universe, but his arrows are still subject to the laws of physics (or more accurately, comic book physics).
A fun example of this happening is in the World’s Finest Comics issue #38 (from Volume 1), which DC Comics published back in the late 1940s.
This comic book is actually an anthology that features stories about Superman, Batman, and of course, Green Arrow.
In the Green Arrow story, the archer, along with his trusty sidekick Speedy (that would be fellow archer Roy Harper, who would later become Red Arrow) comes face to face with a villain who calls himself the Wind.
No, he can’t control the weather (like Storm). But he does come armed with a giant electric fan that he carries in his truck (because 1940s-era comics).
Green Arrow couldn’t hit the Wind because his arrows keep getting blown off by the criminal’s fan.
But Oliver Queen soon devises a counter – he gets a giant bow and a giant arrow (again, because 1940s-era comics).
With a bit of teamwork (Green Arrow holds the giant bow while Speedy pulls the giant arrow), the duo manages to fire at the fan and disarm the blasted thing.
For a more modern take, let us take a trip to the early 1970s. In Flash issue #217, Green Arrow finds himself under fire from a sniper in an elevated position.
Oliver Queen is pinned down behind trash cans in an empty alley, but he quickly formulates a plan.
Keeping consistent with his “no-killing” moral code, he plans on disarming the attacker by hitting the sniper rifle away from the gunman’s hands.
But alas, an old arm injury of his flares up at the most unexpected moment.
It triggers a spasm in his hand as he was aiming for the sniper. As a result, he shoots his arrow just a tad too soon.
Instead of hitting the gunman’s rifle, the arrow finds the sniper’s chest instead, with fatal consequences.
This can be taken as proof that if you can affect Green Arrow physically (like causing an injury to his arm), you just might be able to force him to miss.
Has any DC supervillain ever thought of doing exactly that? For sure, yes – but remember that Oliver Queen is a master hand-to-hand combatant too.
When he’s not shooting arrows, he’s beating up baddies with his bare hands.
But you gotta hand it to Batman though – his contingency plan for stopping the Emerald Archer involves immobilizing Green Arrow’s arms so that the guy can’t fire any arrow.
We can’t speak for everybody, but we sure do think the Caped Crusader had the right idea. Good call, Bruce.
How Green Arrow Lost His Arm
Speaking of arms, there is a version of Green Arrow that actually lost his arm. Die-hard Batman fans might know who we are referring to.
We are talking, of course, about the Green Arrow version that appeared in legendary comics writer and illustrator Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again graphic novels.
This Oliver Queen is much older (mainly because Frank Miller’s epic is set in the future), but it is clear that he has not lost any iota of his determination.
For instance, even without a left arm, he can still shoot arrows by pulling them with his teeth during the events of The Dark Knight Returns.
Thankfully, he was able to get a robotic arm in The Dark Knight Strikes Again, with his aim as deadly as ever.
But how did he lose his left arm in the first place? In The Dark Knight Returns, it is heavily suggested that Superman was involved.
The graphic novel, however, never shows exactly what happened.
But if you have watched the 2013 animated film Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2 from Warner (which was based on Frank Miller’s masterpiece), you will know that years ago, Green Arrow was forced to retire by the government, which had outlawed vigilantism.
Oliver Queen had refused, so the government ordered Sups to break off the archer’s left arm.
Or it is quite possible that Frank Miller might just be referencing Green Arrow’s rich comics history, specifically his death.
Let us discuss that in detail in the following section.
Does Green Arrow Die?
Yes, Green Arrow dies in the comics. This happened in the mid-1990s in the 100th issue of the Green Arrow comic book.
Oliver Queen goes undercover in order to take down a group of eco-terrorists. The bad guys were planning to fly a plane and drop a bomb carrying a biological weapon on Metropolis.
Green Arrow was able to board the plane, fully intending to stop their evil plan. But a shootout occurs mid-flight, leaving all eco-terrorists dead and Oliver wounded.
What's worse is that his left hand is stuck in a deadman’s switch in the bomb. If he lets go of the switch, the bomb will explode.
Superman soon gets wind of the situation and quickly enters the plane. He tells Green Arrow that he plans to amputate the archer’s left arm to save him.
But Oliver refuses to imagine, let alone live, a future where he can no longer shoot an arrow with two arms.
So he says no thank you to the Man of Steel and proceeds to let go of the switch and blow himself up instead.
Of course, because we are talking about comic books here, popular characters never stay dead forever (a pop culture phenomenon that is now called “comic book death” – thanks a lot, Jean Grey).
Sure enough, by the time the 2000s rolled in, Green Arrow would get resurrected through the Quiver saga, thanks to filmmaker and certified comic book nerd Kevin Smith who did a 15-issue writing stint for the Green Arrow comic book.
Can Green Arrow Beat Hawkeye?
But considering the fact that both comics characters are known not only for their deadly accuracy in the field of archery but also for their fighting skills, it would be a tight contest.
Let us talk about archery first.
Green Arrow once hit a flying butterfly using a bow he improvised on the spot. Hawkeye, however, nailed a couple of flying birds with a single arrow.
Oliver Queen can shoot a bow using one arm and his teeth. But so can Clint Barton (after one of his arms got shot).
The Emerald Archer once fired an arrow at the moon and hit it. But the founding member of the West Coast Avengers can hit targets without even looking.
They both have fired multiple arrows at multiple targets all at once and didn’t miss.
To Green Arrow’s credit, he is faster to the draw – he is capable of shooting 33 arrows in 60 seconds.
But considering that Hawkeye can manage 29 arrows per minute, Oliver’s edge is not much of an advantage. Still, it may be enough to defeat Marvel’s archer.
As for fighting skills, Green Arrow was once considered one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in DC Comics.
Sure, his level of skill has since been bettered by a new generation of martial artists, including his own son Connor Hawke (who can instantly copy any opposing fighter’s style) and Cassandra Cain (she can predict how and when an opponent will attack).
But Green Arrow still deserves some big credit – after all, he once held his own against Batman.
Hawkeye is no slouch when it comes to fighting. As a member of the Avengers, he’s had extensive training in martial arts, thanks to having a certain Captain America (Steve Rogers) serve as his gym buddy.
When he became Ronin, he proved that he is more than a match when it comes to swordsmanship.
So in terms of fighting skills, Green Arrow might be the better combatant.
Can Green Arrow Beat Deadshot?
Yes, Green Arrow can beat the assassin Deadshot. But on paper, the killer-for-hire (with a reputation as “the man who never misses”) should prove to be a challenging and worthy opponent even for the Emerald Archer.
After all, Deadshot uses guns and bullets. Plus, projectiles shot from firearms are way faster than any arrow fired from a bow.
And there is a big reason Deadshot is called that name – when he aims at something, he usually hits it, whatever or wherever the target is.
So in theory, Deadshot should have the advantage.
But Green Arrow is more than just a super-accurate archer. He’s an incredible hand-to-hand fighter, master tactician, and acrobat.
On top of all that, his accuracy not only applies to his bow and arrows, but to any object he picks up and throws (in his hands, a shard of broken glass can be a deadly shuriken).
And he’s had his fair share of opposing snipers (as we mentioned earlier), so he ain’t afraid of no crack shot. But of course, Deadshot is no ordinary crack shot.
Interestingly, one of the most memorable Green Arrow vs Deadshot fights ever in DC Comics history not only concludes without any winner or casualties, it also comes with a happy ending.
Deadshot learns he has a daughter living in Star City (Green Arrow’s hometown), but he also discovers that his kid’s neighborhood is overrun by local gangs.
So he decides to do some cleaning up for the sake of his four-year-old girl.
Naturally, his activities attract the attention of Oliver Queen himself.
The two meet and not only exchange words but also arrows and bullets.
Their fight only gets stopped when civilians intervene to defend Deadshot, the supervillain. So yeah – how the tables have turned.
Anyway, the two head to the nearest diner to clear things up over a game of darts (guess how many times the dart board red circle bull’s eye gets hit).
They both come to an agreement – Deadshot will take it easy when it comes to dispatching gang members, while Green Arrow promises to patrol the neighborhood more often.
Are Green Arrow and Batman Friends?
Of course, Green Arrow and Batman are friends, although they are not exactly superheroes that you can call friendly.
But both are "close" enough to know each other’s secret identities (they are both teammates in the Justice League, after all, so not that surprising at all).
They also have similar backgrounds. Both are super-rich boys with lots of gadgets and toys who honed their human skills and abilities to the absolute peak and are now considered true superheroes (but technically without true superpowers).
While it is true that they are teammates in the Justice League, both are not easy to get along with.
Batman is a loner by nature, and thinks he does not really have a need for a best friend.
On the other hand, Green Arrow’s combination of arrogance and tactlessness is the stuff of legend.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t get to team up. As a matter of fact, they have done so on a number of occasions.
Well, it can’t be helped when they share a few arch-enemies. The list of supervillains who have fought both Green Arrow and Batman includes Deadshot (like we mentioned earlier), Deathstroke, Lady Shiva, and Prometheus, just to name a few.